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NFTs and the Blockchain - What the hell is all this?


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Troy Baker is also now plugging NFT's. You'd have to be spectacularly stupid not to see the fallout of everyone that gets involved with them and think it's still a good idea.

 

The funny thing is, the NFT he's behind is one that could potentially put voice actors out of work.

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He has form for going off the rails.

 

Like when Jason Schreier said Last of Us Part 2 was maybe a bit too long and he replied with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt.

 

He should've stuck to anime.

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2 hours ago, Gambit said:

Troy Baker is also now plugging NFT's. You'd have to be spectacularly stupid not to see the fallout of everyone that gets involved with them and think it's still a good idea.

 

The funny thing is, the NFT he's behind is one that could potentially put voice actors out of work.

 

2 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

Veteran voice actor Troy Baker (Joel from Last of Us) is now promoting NFTs and being an absolute tool about it. 
 

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2022-01-14-video-game-voice-actor-troy-baker-is-now-promoting-nfts


It gets better, the voice synthesis NFT company he was plugging was caught today using another voice synthesis project to make one of its voices. Odds are probably pretty good they don’t actually have their own technology at all.

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Quote

I think gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them. For now, because of the current situation and context of NFTs, gamers really believe it’s first destroying the planet, and second just a tool for speculation. But what we [at Ubisoft] are seeing first is the end game. The end game is about giving players the opportunity to resell their items once they’re finished with them or they’re finished playing the game itself.

 

So, it’s really, for them. It’s really beneficial. But they don’t get it for now.

 

Also, this is part of a paradigm shift in gaming. Moving from one economic system to another is not easy to handle. There is a lot of habits you need to go against and a lot of your ingrained mindset you have to shift. It takes time. We know that.

 

Aye, alright ducky.

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"It's about giving players the opportunity to resell their items once they're finished with them. But not in a way where we run our own server and handle the whole thing, oh no - how could we ever exploit crypto idiots that way?"

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So, you still won’t be able to resell your games, and also you’ll have to buy the items you need to play in-game with real-world cash?

 

(‘Cause if you don’t need those items, there’s not much of a resale market…)

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“What if microtransactions, but with hyperinflation.”

 

(Okay, this one’s a bit unintuitive, but if you take a hyperdeflationary asset like an NFT which is constantly increasing in value, then the costs of getting in to that system are necessarily subject to hyperinflation. Every day that passes, everything in that game’s ecosystem - the items you need to play - gets massively more expensive in £/$/€/¥.)

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Reading Keza MacDonald's Guardian piece about the metaverse knocked loose a thought that I had a little while ago... I've seen quite a few comparisons between the Metaverse as pitched by NFT boosters/Facebook/tech bros, and Ready Player One, the virtual reality where all your favourite branded properties come together to save the world. Now, one of the few (in hindsight, probably accidental) good and timely ideas that book got in to was that web 2.0 companies like Facebook and Google were at the time of its writing paving over the public web with a privately owned capitalist one, and I think it's a comparison that bears closer examination. It's the actual text of the book that the "Oasis" - what Metaverse boosters want people to picture when they think "Metaverse" - is a free utopia because it's product of free-wheeling anarchic philanthropy, and which will all but cease to exist when it becomes a money-generating venture, which is what Metaverse boosters actually want. There's a very clearly drawn dystopian vision of what a for-profit metaverse looks like in there.

 

I've sometimes, with the correct amount of shame, suggested that it should've been possible to make a good film out of that book. It would be far cheaper and more interesting and timely and generate more of a new IP if you skipped all the crossmedia nostalgia wankery and focused in on that idea of the web as rebellion. And of course they didn't, and of course it was just a missed opportunity for them to redeem a novel. In hindsight I don't think there was any prospect of a cautionary tale about the corporate capture of the web coming out of a company so heavily entangled with the history of that very process, but we do need something in the entertainment media which engages with that problem.

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Excellent post. Is it worth reading? I never got around to the film. From what you describe, I did like the way Wreck It Ralph 2 alluded to what we've let the web become. One gently ribbing corporate giant to another.

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This interview with the always excellent Yanis Varoufakis on NFTs and the blockchain touches on NFTs in gaming - https://diem25.org/yanis-varoufakis-crypto-the-left-and-techno-feudalism/

 

A snippet

 

Quote

NFTs are all the rage these days. Their rapid rise can be traced to CryptoKitties, a blockchain-based computer game that took off in 2017. There are now also many gamers who oppose NFTs and the rather problematic ideas of ownership that they embed. Was something like NFTs already on the horizon during your time at Valve? Do you think that NFTs will change our ideas about ownership, scarcity, and remuneration in ways that might be of help to the broader progressive project? This, at any rate, is the belief of some advocating for Web3.

 

Hats in TF2! Team Fortress 2 (or TF2) players were obsessed with digital hats. Initially part of free drops, some hats that were discontinued later became collectibles. Players began bartering within the game (e.g. I will give you two laser guns for this one hat of yours). Then, when the demand for some hat rose sufficiently, the players would step out of the game, meet up on eBay, trade the hat for (sometimes) thousands of dollars, before, finally, returning to the game where the vendor would hand the hat over to the buyer. Note the unbelievable levels of trust between strangers this transaction involved: the vendor could have walked away with both the money and the hat. Valve decided to reduce the need for so much trust, cut eBay out, and make a neat profit too by creating trading rooms within the game (i.e. create an in-game market for digital items owned and supervised by Valve).

 

NFTs differ in two respects from digital assets like the hats in TF2: The blockchain cuts out the company (e.g. Valve). And it allows the digital asset to emigrate from the game/realm that spawned it to any other digital realm.

 

Do I think that NFTs have subversive potential? Let’s see. In a digital environment, NFTs are like all other commodities. They reflect the triumph of exchange value (with which capitalism trounced experiential or use value) within a metaverse (Valve-like or Zuckerberg-style). In that sense, NFTs offer nothing new within digital worlds, except perhaps that they turbocharge the ideology of capitalism (exchange value rules supreme). In the analogue world, NFTs have value only to the extent that bragging rights offer utility to those who care for them. Even though in so doing, they force outfits like Sotheby’s and Christie’s (which used to monopolise the trade in bragging rights) to change their ways, NFTs in no way subverts the structure of property rights creating and underpinning the oligarchy’s exorbitant power over the many.

 

So, no, I see little radical potential from NFTs. Having said that, a good, future, liberal techno-communist society may find ways of using them as part of a broad network of technologies helping us keep records of our identities, property, etc.

 

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1 hour ago, TehStu said:

Excellent post. Is it worth reading? I never got around to the film. From what you describe, I did like the way Wreck It Ralph 2 alluded to what we've let the web become. One gently ribbing corporate giant to another.


I thought it was an amusing diversion at the time, it’s got big fanfic energy, but I wouldn’t, like, push a real novel out of bed for it. It got a lot of lightning-rod blowback for being the perfect icon of the commoditisation of nerd culture which isn’t fair to it as a book in isolation, but conversely the author was quite happy to profit off that same commoditisation so the scorn is kind of deserved?
 

The most widely shared example of what’s wrong with the book, the Delorean bit, manages to be the one example where context makes it okay, but it also sums up what you’ll be processing for 90% of the read.

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